Lana Fontenot and Anne Falgout – South Louisiana Community College – Affordable Post-Secondary Education Transforming Families and Communities

South Louisiana Community College’s (“SoLAcc”) Anne Falgout, Director of Strategic Communications, and Lana Fontenot, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and External Relations and Executive Director of the College’s Foundation, join Discover Lafayette to discuss the latest developments at SoLAcc and its recent rebranding.

SoLAcc currently offers more than 50 programs, leading to associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates, to almost 12,000 students annually, at its campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte. The College also offers a wide range of non-credit instruction and training, for careers that need certification training such as power linemen, industrial scaffolding, and commercial driving, which students can complete in under six months. Following an Academic Blueprint prepared five years in advance, SoLAcc endeavors to build educational programs that fit the needs of each community they serve.

Many people in our region don’t have high school diplomas, and SoLAcc steps up to offer Adult Basic Education Services, assisting individuals in passing the High School Equivalency Exam (“HiSET”) which replaced the former GED exam. Students of all ages come to SoLAcc for this program, sometimes after their own children graduate from high school, and are guided by the college counselors to figure out the best way to obtain an appropriate degree while qualifying for grants, loans, and other institutional aid resources to help cover the cost of their education.

SoLAcc was awarded the Hunger-Free Campus Award by the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2024.

The typical age of a SoLAcc student has declined in recent years, from 27 years of age to 24 years of age today. This is a huge shift in demographics, due to the college’s effective outreach program. Additionally, SoLAcc’s tuition is on average about 40% less than a tradtional four-year colleges and institutions. Anne Falgout says, “The top issues that come up when we speak with prospective students is affordability and flexibility in classes as they choose which institution to attend. Affordability plus Quality equals Value!”

Student Success Live is an in-person new-student orientation that all students take before registering. Guidance on resources and expectations help SoLAcc’s retention rate of students. About 3/4 of the college’s students are first generation college students and have no frame of reference about what to expect. Many know no one who has gone to college. SoLAcc works to help each student holistically and offers free tutoring at every campus.

More than one-half of SoLAcc’s students are university bound and find that first obtaining a two-year Associate’s degree at the college is the most economical method to earn their credits. SoLAcc partners not only with UL-Lafayette, but also McNeese, Holy Cross, and Nicholls State to offer a 2 + 2 agreement that allows students to seamlessly transfer their credits from the community college to the universities. Lana pointed out that SoLAcc is the largest feeder of students to UL-Lafayette and its graduates start the university ready to excel.

The Early College Academy, which is ‘baked into SoLAcc’s Devalcourt location in Lafayette,” is rated in the top 1% of public high schools in Louisiana, and is particularly well-known for its students’ math and reading proficiencies. The high school shares faculty with SoLAcc and the benefit of of this dual enrollment program is that students can earn their two-year Associate’s Degree while earning their high school diploma. This enables the students to start at a university as a Junior.

Many people attend SoLAcc after having graduated from a traditional four-year college and established in a career. As an example close to home, Lana’s husband, educated to be a teacher and experienced as a fifteen-year veteran of teaching middle and high school students, became an Emergency Medical Technician after enrolling in SoLAcc during COVID. He graduated after a short-term training program, and was immediately hired by Acadian Ambulance. He worked there for six months driving an ambulance, and then in January of 2021, entered the paramedic program at SoLAcc, and graduated in December of 2021, being presented his diploma by his wife, Lana Fontenot!

A partnership between the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Community Corrections division and South Louisiana Community College offers inmates a technical diploma track in Welding. Working with inmates who are nearing their date of release, mobile welding units are deployed to teach the skills necessary for employment. At the conclusion of the yearlong program, a graduation ceremony is held with SoLAcc supplying the caps and gowns for the students. LPSO sets up apprenticeships and any monies earned are kept secure until the prisoner is released. SoLAcc hopes to add HVAC and culinary to this program.

South Louisiana Community College recently completed its rebranding. Anne Falgout says, “We call it a transformation; we came of age. We didn’t change so much as we evolved into ourselves. While we do compete with traditional 4-year educational institutions, our biggest competitor is LIFE.” So many of SoLAcc’s students choose between the college or getting no education. Their top issues are affordibility and flexibility, as they grapple with childcare and transportation challenges.

Lana Fontenot has been employed by the college for twelve years, after time spent working at UL-Lafayette and an early stint as a radio host known as “Lana Banana.” Hired by former SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder, Lana came on during a time of transition when Acadiana Technical College was being merged into SLCC, creating a comprehensive community college. Under her leadership as Executive Director of the South Louisiana Community College Foundation, scholarship monies available to students have experienced a 20-fold growth.

Anne Falgout worked in economic development for over two decades before joining SoLAcc as Director of Strategic Communications. She served as executive director of Vermilion Economic Development Alliance, and worked at Lafayette Economic Development Authority prior to that. “‘We train our students for life. We ask what does that student need to be successful and how do we meet their needs? Working at SoLAcc is the most economic development I’ve ever done. It is unreal how many lives we touch by just giving one student an opportunity. It impacts their family, their employer, and their community.”

In closing, Discover Lafayette would like to thank Lana Fontenot, Anne Falgout, and the entire team at SoLAcc for their commitment to helping people reach their full potential by providing them with an education that readies them for their desired career.

For more information about South Louisiana Community College educational offerings and its campuses throughout Acadiana, please visit